Teens talking about education online

A new study released by the National School Boards Association (NSBA) exploring the online behaviors of U.S. teens and ‘tweens shows that 96 percent of students with online access use social networking technologies.

You can download the 9 page PDF Creating & Connecting: Research and Guidelines on Online Social and Educational Networking from the NSBA website. If you are engaged in any kind of evangelism for online student activities, this report is a goldmine of data. You might be surprised to find out that many schools ARE working towards figuring out policies and practices that work. It’s not so lonely out on the “bleeding edge” of technology knowing that lots of others are out there too.

Students report that one of the most common topics of conversation on the social networking scene is education. Nearly 60 percent of online students report discussing education-related topics such as college or college planning, learning outside of school, and careers. And 50 percent of online students say they talk specifically about schoolwork.

While most schools have rules against social networking activities, almost 70 percent of districts report having student Web site programs, and nearly half report their schools participate in online collaborative projects with other schools and in online pen pal or other international programs. Further, more than a third say their schools and/or students have blogs, either officially or in the context of instruction.

It’s not just all talk
Students report they are engaging in highly creative activities on social networking internet sites including writing, art, and contributing to collaborative online projects whether or not these activities are related to schoolwork. Almost half of students (49 percent) say that they have uploaded pictures they have made or photos they have taken, and more than one in five students (22 percent) report that they have uploaded video they have created.

Students are using technology outside of school to make school relevant to their lives – can we find ways to make sure that technology use inside of school is at least as relevant?

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